How to Turn Yourself Into a Problem-Solver

BE A PROBLEM-SOLVER

Navigating a reinvention inevitably means solving a series of problems. There are both “good” problems (A new opportunity came in! Is it a fit?) and “bad” problems (I’m running out of money! What should I do?).

Just knowing this can make your journey less intimidating. Yes, just as you solve one problem another pops up and that can sometimes feel overwhelming. But when you decide to BE a problem-solver, you can handle it because you are solution-oriented. You move into “I will figure it out”. Remember that challenges are what keep things interesting—in games and in life. They engage us and help us grow.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can become a genius at problem-solving:

Step 1: Ask yourself whether the problem is external or internal.

Sometimes, what seems to be an external problem is, in fact, a mindset issue. This shows up when we’re focusing on tactics as a way of avoiding a deeper concern. If you find yourself not wanting to look at a problem and diving into execution instead, it means you’re having an internal issue with mindset.

Step 2: Notice your excuses.

Excuses block you from moving into problem-solving, so as I explain in Law 3 of my book, The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention, you’re not able to make progress until you’re willing to give them up.

Step 3: Solve the next problem in front of you.

It’s important to stay in the game you’re playing and focus on the next challenge in front of you. This does involve a certain amount of strategic thinking since sometimes dealing with a future problem solves a current mindset issue. (Classic example: If you’re stressed about money, having a Plan B in place gives you mental breathing space.)

Step 4: Be willing to brainstorm ideas.

When you drop your excuses, you’re now forced to get creative and brainstorm solutions to your problems. So exchange your excuses for a burst of creativity, start thinking about solutions and brainstorming ideas with friends, your Reinvention Board, and our community.

Step 5: Say yes to solutions.

Try out an idea before saying it “won’t work.” When you do this, you’ll either end up with a solution or you’ll gain actual data that will help you solve the problem.

Coaching Action Steps

1. Make a list of the problems you face in moving forward with your reinvention: the reasons you’re stuck or unhappy and unable to make a change or progress. Most fall into three categories: lack of resources (e.g. money, contacts or energy, as in health), lack of time, and lack of opportunity. Next to your problem, list its category: I’m too busy raising kids. (time)

2. Survey your friends who are successful in their fields and ask them to tell you the excuses they hear you making all the time. Make a list of your most-used excuses, as reported by your friends.

3. Pick your top four problems/excuses and brainstorm solutions for them.

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